8:00 PM ET, August 27, 2005
IRVING, Texas (AP) -- Early in the battle of Lone Star State teams, Houston tight end Mark Bruener got tangled up with Dallas safety Roy Williams during a running play. Each threw the other down and both were flagged for personal fouls.Bruener also said some things Williams didn't like. He especially took offense to what he was hearing from the Texans bench."I told them they messed up," Williams said. "I told them I was going to knock them out."Adding anger to his already punishing style, Williams went on to provide several of the many defensive highlights for the Cowboys in a 21-9 victory over the Texans on a hot Saturday night.Cornerback Terence Newman ruined Andre Johnson's night with plenty of tight coverage, including an interception in the end zone. Rookie linebacker Kevin Burnett forced a fumble that led to a touchdown. And top draft pick DeMarcus Ware continued his torrid preseason with 1½ sacks of Houston quarterback David Carr.Yet the most memorable moments were from Williams, such as when he slammed into tight end Matt Murphy so hard that a first-down conversion became an interception for Dat Nguyen. He got in good licks on several other would-be receivers."That's what Roy does," cornerback Anthony Henry said admiringly after playing alongside Williams for the third time. "I think those guys were hearing footsteps."Dallas (2-1) used quarterback Drew Bledsoe and most of the first-team offense until midway through the third quarter, while Houston (1-2) pulled Carr and his unit after halftime -- exactly the opposite of what was expected.Bledsoe, who found out early Saturday he'd be going longer, was 11-of-18 for 113 yards with no turnovers. After getting just two first downs his first four possessions, he went 5-for-5 on an 80-yard drive, with Julius Jones covering the final 21 for the touchdown. Jones finished with 50 yards on 10 carries."We couldn't get out of our way the first quarter," Bledsoe said. "It was very frustrating, but it was good to see the way our offense responded."Backup Tony Romo led drives that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Tyson Thompson and a 2-yard TD catch by Quincy Morgan. Morgan earlier dropped a likely TD pass from Romo on a possession that ended with Romo bobbling a snap on a 50-yard field goal attempt.Cowboys coach Bill Parcells found plenty to be upset about, from too many penalties to players begging out of the game because of the heat; he didn't let them, either, calling it "a little gut check." He tempered his taunts by noting a short turnaround from the previous game Monday night in Seattle."I'm not under any illusions about anything," he said.Carr was 7-of-19 for 52 yards and two interceptions. His best drive included two completions to Johnson but ended when Newman stepped in front of another attempted pass to Johnson. Domanick Davis had 39 yards on eight carries, then left with bruises on his right ankle and elbow.Backup quarterback Tony Banks was 8-of-18 for 93 yards with a lost fumble that led to Dallas' second touchdown. The most notable play by Houston's defense was lineman Gary Walker and linebacker Antwan Peek smacking into each other and knocking each other to the turf for several minutes. They were both going after Bledsoe, but he stepped away at the last second.The Texans' only points came on a 102-yard kickoff return by Reggie Swinton and a 50-yard field goal by Kris Brown, set up by a 51-yard punt return. However, their special teams also were penalized on four of their first six kick returns and had two penalties on one punt coverage. Also, Swinton muffed a punt around the 10 and rookie punter Cody Scates let loose a 12-yarder."We can't be a sloppy team and expect to play winning football," coach Dom Capers said. "We have to be an efficient team with an eye to detail to win games."This was the third straight year the teams have met in exhibition play and the first time the home team won. The Texans won the only regular-season meeting, back in their inaugural game in 2002.